Someday your floor could be the only security sensor you need for the home, if IBM moves ahead with a patent granted on March 20, “Securing premises using surfaced-based computing technology.”
The patent describes a multitouch floor that can determine who is in the house, and what they’re doing. The floor senses the shapes, weight and number of feet on the ground so it can distinguish between parents, kids, infants, pets … and unauthorized visitors.
From the patent:
The system takes different actions based upon identifying which object is in a particular location. For example, if the system senses that a small child is in an “off-limits” location, such as a swimming pool or hot tub area, the child’s caregiver can immediately be notified to prevent the child from getting hurt. Similarly, if the system senses that the family dog has entered an area that is off-limits, such as a living room or bedroom, actions can be taken accordingly. If the owner is home, the owner can be notified with an alert in order to remove the dog from the off-limits location. If no one is home, a high-pitched dog alarm can be sounded in order to have the dog retreat from the off-limits location.
Smart Floors and Eldercare
The smart floors also could determine the position and movement of the home’s occupants, which has tremendous implications for home health technology, aging in place and telemedicine. If a resident falls and does not get up in a certain amount of time, the floor – like any other security sensor – could send a message to the home alarm, home automation or PERS (personal emergency response system) device to alert a family member or monitoring station.
One problem with traditional PERS pendants and wearable fall-detection devices is that users take them off at night or before showering, and fail to put them on again.